At the 2018 Summit by Dynamic Signal, Kelly Greene sat in the audience listening to speakers describe how they were using employee communication and engagement platforms to connect with their workforces. One topic, in particular, caught her attention:
How to stage a successful launch.
“There was so much that we hadn’t even considered when it came to rollout strategies,” said Greene, Senior Digital Communications Consultant at TruGreen. “We came away with all of these great little nuggets of advice.”
Her biggest insight?
“Having a good launch plan in place is really important,” Greene said.
This year, she paid it forward. Greene helped lead a workshop about creating a memorable launch at the recent 2019 Summit. She shared experiences from the rollout of TruGreen’s platform, which is called Green Room and designed to keep employees more informed.
In the first six months, Memphis-based TruGreen has seen about 3,200 employees register for the platform. That’s a massive accomplishment for a dispersed, on-the-go workforce that’s spread throughout more than 270 branches across the U.S. and Canada.
“TruGreen has a great program that people can learn from,” said Donna Graham, a Customer Success Executive at Dynamic Signal. “Kelly has been successful in making Green Room part of the company zeitgeist, and not just a platform containing content. Kelly is super-knowledgeable and confident, and yet also open to new ideas and not being afraid to run with them.”
The company was trying to solve a common, top-down communication challenge. It needed to reach all employees with the information they want and need to do their jobs better. The size of the workforce fluctuates and hits a peak of around 15,000 associates during the summer months. About 70 percent are deskless workers who don’t have a company email address and are out in the field, transforming the yards of customers into lush, emerald lawns.
“We wanted to reach associates where they are – on their tablets and smartphones,” Greene said. “They’re not sitting at computers every day. Previously, regional directors relayed information to the general managers at each location, who in turn had to relay it to their specialists. It was almost like a game of telephone. People either weren’t getting the correct message, or they were getting just bits and pieces. They weren’t accurately informed of what was happening company-wide.”
The platform would change that, but only if people used it.
The TruGreen team, which includes Communications Consultant Rebecca Gray and Director of Corporate Communications Dudley Palmer, worked with Graham to devise a launch strategy – based on the success other Dynamic Signal customers had seen. They decided that a phased rollout would be the best approach for TruGreen. For Greene, the focus was a “preview” of the platform at a multi-day meeting in January for about 1,000 company managers and executives.
“We set up a pop-up green room with giveaways like phone pop sockets, and other swag items,” Greene said. “It was just a cool little area to answer questions and help people download the app.”
Greene also tried something that, if nothing else, made an impression. They scheduled Appy Hours.
“For one hour each day, if you showed me that you downloaded the app, you could get a free beer,” Greene said. “Everybody was like ‘Free beer! All I have to do is download an app?’ We didn’t have as many beers as we had people, so that was probably our bad. It was a little crazy.”
But they succeeded in their goal: creating a buzz that would spread throughout the company.
“We got lots of people at that meeting on that platform,” she added. “Yet it was just as important that they go back to their branches and start talking about Green Room with all of their team members.”
Over the following month or so, they rolled out of the platform in stages – starting first with desk-bound workers like customer service and sales, and then expanding to the field workers across the U.S. and Canada. The idea, Greene added, was to take what they learned in each phase and apply it to the next rollout stage.
Once Green Room was available to everyone, Greene turned her attention to building momentum. There have been random giveaways of $100 gift cards and adorable Chia pet-styled figurines with grass sprouting like hair – a neat nod to the company mission.
But her main selling point is stocking the platform with the kind of content that employees want. There’s a mix of need-to-know posts like safety information as well as news highlighting company culture.
She also adds exclusive content such as videos of TruGreen’s quarterly Town Halls and monthly “Coffee with Cowles” videos featuring President and CEO John Cowles.
“My goal is to give our people quick snippets of information that they can digest in the same way they do on Facebook and Twitter,” she said.
Greene said long-term adoption will always be a challenge.
It’s just human nature that making any change is hard.
“In my mind, I wanted it to be like, ‘We’ve launched, and now everyone should join immediately!’” Greene said. “Of course, it doesn’t happen just like that. But we’re getting more and more people on every single day. That’s exciting.”
Recently, Greene was at a TruGreen branch encouraging people to sign up for Green Room.
“They were like, ‘Oh, you’re the girls from Appy Hour!’” she recalled. “And we were like, ‘Yeah, that was us.’ So, at least we know that we made our launch memorable.”
Position: Senior Digital Communications Consultant at TruGreen, the leading professional lawn care company that was ranked 10th in the CareerBliss 50 Happiest Companies in America for 2018 list. “The irony is not lost on me that I’m Kelly Greene at TruGreen,” she said, laughing.
Home: Memphis, Tenn.
Education: Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Mississippi State
Career: Marketing Coordinator at The Crump Firm, Marketing Specialist at Methodist Healthcare
Why She Likes Her Job: “I started out in marketing and have a graphic design background. But my passion throughout life has been communications and writing. I love that I’m in a place where I’m writing every single day.”
Volunteer Work: Board Member for Memphis branch of Young Professionals of the American Cancer Society
First Job: Restaurant hostess
Favorite Movies: “The Shawshank Redemption” and “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”
Favorite TV Shows: “Friends” and “The Office”
Favorite Books: The Harry Potter series and “Daring Greatly” by Brené Brown
Favorite App on Her Phone: Instagram
Fun Fact: Growing up in Las Vegas, she once had the chance to appear in an episode of “CSI” that was filming near her house. “They asked me to be an extra, but I was not camera ready.”
Favorite Piece of Advice: “I like Maya Angelou’s quote, ‘If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.’”
Superpower She Wished She Had: “It would be to time travel – but only if it were for good. There are definitely a few times in my life where I would go back and do something differently.”
Five Questions with Kelly
Can you describe your role at TruGreen?
“I handle most of our internal communications. I manage anything that goes out to all of our associates, whether it’s email, posts on the intranet, or now on our Dynamic Signal platform. I’m responsible for most things that touch our internal population.”
What should people know about designing a successful launch?
“One of our keys to success right from the beginning was having a rollout strategy. But I also think that you need to make sure you have a full plan going forward after the rollout to keep people engaged. Having all of your ducks in a row is very important. Just understand that it’s going to be a learning process.”
What is a lesson learned about your launch?
“You have to figure out how you’re going to get all of these people onto the platform, technically. For instance, if you decide you want to use single sign-on, make sure that all of the pieces are in place. If we could go back and do it again, we would not probably do single sign-on. We originally thought it was the best way to go because, ‘Oh, you use one username and password, and you get into everything.’ But the reality today is that everyone has a bunch of usernames and passwords for different things. Just letting people set them on their own for the platform is much easier.”
What is the benefit of attending Summit?
“After going to Summit and listening to the speakers, we decided the Dynamic Signal platform was right for us. It made us realize that so many companies have the same struggles communicating with people who aren’t in front of a computer every single day. We thought, ‘Oh, we’re not alone in this struggle, but there is a solution.’ For us, talking to people already using the platform was so helpful.”
What’s the best part of Summit?
“I want to hear what other people are doing with the platform. I’m especially interested in hearing about the fun things that they’re doing and how they’re getting people engaged. A conference like this is great for collaboration. The more information you can share that can help other people, the better it’s going to be for everyone.”